Ar­chives on the move

The Glengarry News - - Front Page - BY RICHARD MAHONEY News Staff

In what is be­ing de­scribed as a “good her­itage-her­itage mix,” the Glen­garry County Ar­chives is plan­ning to move into one of the old­est build­ings in the county.

North and South Glen­garry are pur­chas­ing the Knights of Colum­bus hall which will un­dergo “ma­jor ren­o­va­tions” so it can be­come the per­ma­nent home of the Ar­chives, lo­cated in Glen­garry Dis­trict High School.

Now that the mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties have agreed to split the $140,000 needed to ac­quire the site at 28 Kenyon St. East, a pub­lic fund-rais­ing drive will soon be launched to fi­nance up­grades to the hall.

Built in 1823, the “Colonel’s House,” the old­est build­ing in Alexan­dria, was the stately home of Colonel An­gus Mac­donell, a nephew of the fa­mous Bishop Alexan­der Mac­donell of St. Raphael’s. After be­ing ac­quired by the Knights of Colum­bus in the 1920s, it was ex­ten­sively al­tered in the late 1970s, when it was con­verted to be used as the Knights of Colum­bus Hall.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime op­por­tu­nity to se­cure for the ar­chives a per­ma­nent home in a build­ing that not only meets the long-term needs of the ar­chives but is steeped in the his­tory of Glen­garry. It's an in­cred­i­ble win-win,” de­clares County Archivist Al­lan Mac­Don­ald.

The build­ing will un­dergo ma­jor ren­o­va­tions to pro­vide bar­rier-free ac­cess to the pub­lic and re­store the his­toric lime­stone ex­te­rior walls.

An es­ti­mate on the cost of the work, which will in­clude re­moval of stucco from ex­te­rior of the struc­ture, will be de­ter­mined at a later date

The new ar­chives lo­ca­tion will also fea­ture en­vi­ron­men­tal con­trols to prop­erly pre­serve the ar­chives' unique col­lec­tion of “Glen­gar­ri­ana.”

This will rep­re­sent a much-needed up­grade to the stor­age con­di­tions at the ar­chives' cur­rent lo­ca­tion at GDHS, which does not meet min­i­mum archival preser­va­tion stan­dards.

“Our coun­cil re­mains com­mit­ted to con­tin­u­ing to part­ner with Glen­garry Dis­trict High School to find ways to en­sure that our schools re­main vi­able. We re­main com­mit­ted to be­ing staunch ad­vo­cates for ru­ral ed­u­ca­tion and to­gether we want to en­sure that all of our stu­dents, schools and boards suc­ceed,” says North Glen­garry Mayor Jamie Mac­Don­ald.

The ar­chives has been based in the high school for the past five and a half years. The 4,800-square-foot space is rented from the Up­per Canada Dis­trict School Board for $20,000 an­nu­ally un­der a lease that is to ex­pire in 2023.

With over 7,600 square feet of space, the new

lo­ca­tion will ad­dress the long-term stor­age needs of the fa­cil­ity and will ac­com­mo­date over 30 years of fu­ture growth. In the process, one of Glen­garry's finest her­itage build­ings will be re­stored. As a re­sult, the com­mu­nity will have greater ac­cess to its his­tory and the ar­chives' in­cred­i­ble trea­sures will be show­cased. The repos­i­tory was es­tab­lished in late 2013 as an agency of both North and South Glen­garry Town­ships. The mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties sub­se­quently leased space in the north-east corner of GDHS for the ar­chives, which be­gan oper­a­tions en­tirely from scratch. No longer a start-up, it has grown dra­mat­i­cally to be­come the largest in Eastern On­tario with col­lec­tions as di­verse as Our Lady's Mis­sion­ar­ies, Boulan­gerie Lan­thier Bak­ery, Lan­cas­ter Ma­sonic Lodge, Hôpi­tal Glen­garry Me­mo­rial Hos­pi­tal and the Glen­garry High­land Games.

The ar­chives Board of Di­rec­tors plans to pur­sue fund­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties from var­i­ous gov­ern­ment sources at the county, pro­vin­cial and fed­eral lev­els.

The or­ga­ni­za­tion is also bank­ing on the com­mu­nity’s sup­port. A con­certed fundrais­ing ef­fort is be­ing pre­pared by “a strong group of com­mu­nity vol­un­teers” to en­sure that ad­di­tional cap­i­tal is raised.

The ar­chives is ex­pected to move to its per­ma­nent home in the fall of 2020.

“The Town­ship of South Glen­garry is ex­cited to part­ner with our neigh­bours to the North to es­tab­lish a per­ma­nent home for the Glen­garry County Ar­chives,” said South Glen­garry Mayor Frank Prevost. “The pur­chase of this build­ing is the first step to­wards ad­vanc­ing this project. We look for­ward to work­ing with all part­ners in­volved to fundraise and to ad­vo­cated for gov­ern­ment fund­ing as the project pro­gresses,” said Mayor Prevost.

GLORY DAYS: In the back­ground, then still in its orig­i­nal con­di­tion, is the fine stone home built in the 1830s by Colonel An­gus Mac­donell.

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